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Self-Portrait, 1887

  • Vincent van Gogh, Dutch, 1853-1890

Oil on artist board, mounted to wood panel

  • Unframed: 13 3/4 × 10 1/2 inches (34.9 × 26.7 cm)
  • 20 1/2 × 17 3/8 × 2 5/8 inches (52.1 × 44.1 × 6.7 cm)

City of Detroit Purchase


On View

  • Modern
  • Modern


European Modern Art to 1970

"For want of a better model," Van Gogh chose to paint his own portrait on many occasions. While in Paris between 1886 and 1888, Van Gogh lightened his palette under the influence of the brilliant colors of the impressionists, but he soon reserved the use of such light colors to express particular moods. Van Gogh's stay in Paris was a relatively happy one, and in this painting, created during the summer of 1887, he portrays himself with an almost light-hearted appearance.

Collection Émile Bernard (possibly Paris, France). 1910, (Ambroise Vollard, Paris, France)

September 21, 1910-1912, (Paul Cassirer, Berlin, Germany). Collection Bernard Goudchaux (Paris, France)

by 1920, Collection Dikran Khan Kélékian (Paris, France and New York, New York, USA)

January 31, 1922, auction Kélékian (American Art Association) lot 100 (New York, New York, USA)

1922-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)

Paul Cassirer Gallery. Ausstellung Berlin, 1910, cat. 48. Lettres de Vincent van Gogh à Émile Bernard. Paris, 1911, unpaginated (ill.). Paul Cassirer Gallery. Ausstellung. Berlin, 1912, cat. 77. Collection Kélékian tableaux de l'école francaise moderne. Paris, 1920, pl. 68 (ill.). "Paris Letter." American Art News, vol. 18, no. 30 (May 15, 1920): p. 4. Modern French Masters representing the Post Impressionists and Their Predecessors. Exh. cat., The Brooklyn Museum. Brooklyn, 1921, cat. 215. [as in the collection of D. G. Kélékian] American Art News. 1922, p. 7, (ill.). Auction Kélékian. American Art Association. New York,1922, (lot 100). Burroughs, Clyde H. Exhibition of Modern Art. Exh. cat., Detroit Institute of Arts, 1922, cat. 77. “Cezanne Leads the French Modernists,” New York Times, February 1, 1922, p. 27. “Three Frenchmen and Mary Cassatt,” Detroit Free Press, February 26, 1922, p. D4. Poland, Reginald. "Modern Paintings Acquired." Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts 5, no. 1, (1923): pp. 3-7, (ill.). “Dutch Art at Institute,” Detroit Free Press, February 4, 1923, p. 5. “The World of Art: English Classic and French Revolutionary,” New York Times, November 11, 1923, p. SM8. Réau, Louis. L'Art Français aux Etats-Unis. Paris, 1926, p. 164. Faille, J. B. de la. L'Oeuvre de Vincent van Gogh, Catalogue Raisonné. Paris, 1928, vol. 1, p. 151, no. 526; vol. 2, pl. CXLIII (ill.). (as from Arles period). Faure, Elie. History of Art, 4. Modern Art, New York, 1921-30. Heil, W. Catalogue of Paintings in the Permanent Collection of The Detroit Institute of Arts. Exh. cat. 87, Detroit, 1930, (ill.). Seeman, E. A., ed., Kunstlermappen, Leipzig. Valentiner, W.R. Catalogue of an Exhibition of Modern French Painting. Exh. cat., Detroit Institute of Arts, 1931, p. 16, cat. 46. Barnard, E. Letters. New York, 1938, pl. 68. (ill.). [color album of the Kélékian Collection] First Loan Exhibition: Cézanne, Gauguin, Seurat,Van Gogh. Exh. cat. 72, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1929, p. 47 (ill.). A Century of Progess Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture. Exh. cat. 314, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 1934, p. 48. Walther, J. "Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings by Vincent Van Gogh." Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts 16, 1 (1936): front cover (ill.), pp. 2-3. Scherjon, W., and J. De Gruyter. Vincent Van Gogh's Great Period Arles, St. Remy and Auvers sur Oise. Amsterdam, 1937. Red Cross Benefit Exhibition. Art Gallery of Toronto. Toronto, 1940. Newberry, J. S. "The Age of Impressionism and Realism." The Art News 38, 31 (May, 1940): p. 14. Aspects of French Painting from Cézanne to Picasso. Exh. cat., Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Los Angeles, 1941, cat. 59 (ill.). Van Gogh Exhibition. Fine Arts Gallery. San Diego, 1941. Paintings by Van Gogh. Exh. cat., Baltimore Museum of Art. Baltimore, 1941, p. 14, cat. 4. Richardson, E. P., ed. Catalogue of Paintings. Detroit, 1944, p. 54, no. 87. Hegarty, Marjorie. "Vincent Van Gogh, Self Portrait." In Favorite Paintings from the Detroit Institute of Arts. New York, 1948, pp. 62–65, 69, no. XII, pl. XII (ill.). Work by Vincent van Gogh. Exh. cat. 16, Cleveland Museum of Art. Cleveland, 1948, frontispiece (ill.), p. 19. Laporte, P. M. "Lovis Corinth & German Expressionism." Magazine of Art 42, 8 (1949): pp. 301-5, (fig. 5.) Grigaut, P.L. (intro.). The Two Sides of the Medal. Exh. cat. 122, Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1954, p. 57. Bromig-Kolleritz von Novisancz, K. "Die Selbstbildnisse Vincent van Goghs." Ph.D. diss., Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, 1954. Masterpieces of Art, in Memory of W. R.Valentiner 1880–1958. Exh. cat., North Carolina Museum of Art. Raleigh, 1959, p. 291, no. LXIII (ill.). [listed under supplement of works not included in the exhibition] Huisman, P. Van Gogh Portraits. Lausanne, 1962, p. 62. Erpel, Fritz. Die Selbstbildnisse Vincent van Goghs. Berlin, 1963, pp. 14, 16-17, 55 (ill.). Erpel, Fritz. Van Gogh: The Self-Portraits. New York, 1968, p. 56. Charensol, G. "Vincent V. G.par lui-meme." Collection Génies et Réalités: Van Gogh (1968) pp. 78-79, 81 (ill.). Faille, J. B. de la. The Works of Vincent van Gogh 3rd. ed. Amsterdam, 1970, p. 185, no. F526 (ill.). Lecaldano, P. L'Opera pittorica completa di Van Gogh, Vol. 1. Milan, 1971, p. 118, no. 437 (ill.). Cinco Siglos de Obras Maestras. Exh. cat. 23, Museo de Jade. San Jose, Costa Rica, 1978, front cover (ill.), p. 71. Henning, E. B. "A Late Self-Portrait of Lovis Corinth." Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art 67, 7 (1980): pp. 279-284 (fig. 7). Failing, P. Best-loved Art from American Museums. New York, pp. 78-79 (ill.). Hulsker, J. The Complete Van Gogh. New York, 1984, pp. 288, 290-291, no. 1309 (ill.). DIA, 100 Masterworks from The Detroit Institute of Arts. New York, 1985, pp. 120-121, (ill.). Stein, S. A. Van Gogh A Retrospective. New York, 1986, p. 115, pl. 35 (ill.). Feilchenfeldt, W. Vincent van Gogh & Paul Cassirer. Berlin, 1988, p. 102, no. F526 (ill.). Welsh-Ovcharov, B. Vincent Van Gogh à Paris. Exh. cat. 39, Musée d'Orsay. Paris, 1988, pp. 39-40 (ill.) Wagner, Monique. From Gaul to De Gaulle: An Outline of French Civilization. New York, 1989, p. xiv, pl. 38 (ill.). Hulsker, J. The New Complete Van Gogh Paintings, Drawings, Sketches. Amsterdam, ca. 1996, pp. 288, 291, no. 1309 (ill.). Walther, I. F. and Metzger, R. Vincent van Gogh: The Complete Paintings. Cologne, 1997, p. 269 (repr.). Van Gogh: Face to Face--the Portraits. Exh. cat., Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 2000-2001, p. 104 (fig. 96). (exh. org. by George Keyes, George. T. M. Shackelford and Joseph J. Rishel). Treasures from the Detroit Institute of Arts: Masters of Impressionism and Modern Art. Sogo Museum of Art, 2001, pp. 34, 84 (no. 22, color repr. p. 85) (in Japanese, entry by G. Keyes on file). Calabrese, O. L'Art de l'Autoportrait. Evreaux, 2006. Hendriks, Ella, and Louis van Tilborgh with the assistance of Margriet van Eikema Hommes and Monique Hageman. Vincent van Gogh Paintings: Volume 2, Antwerp & Paris 1885–1888. Translated by Michael Hoyle. Van Gogh Museum/Lund Humphries, 2011, pp. 21, fig. 8, 457, 459, fig. 125a. Abt, Jeffrey. Valuing Detroit’s Art Museum: A History of Fiscal Abandonment and Rescue. Detroit, 2017, pp. xvi, 48, 140, fig. 4.7 (ill.). Serres, Karen, ed. Van Gogh: Self-Portraits. Exh. cat., The Courtlauld Gallery. London, 2022, pp. 102-105, cat. no. 9 (ill.), p. 104 (det. ill.).

Vincent van Gogh, Self-Portrait, 1887, oil on artist board, mounted to wood panel. Detroit Institute of Arts, City of Detroit Purchase, 22.13.